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New Research Facilities for University of Wisconsin-Madison

12 August 2013

US - Renovation of the University of Wisconsin-Madison buildings for dairy and meat science research are to proceed and are due for completion in five years.

Before auctioning off cattle, pigs and sheep at the governor's annual blue ribbon livestock auction at the Wisconsin State Fair, Governor Scott Walker announced last week that proposed renovations of University of Wisconsin-Madison buildings for dairy and meat science research will go forward as planned, reports Journal-Sentinel.

He said they are expected to be completed by 2018.

The $32 million renovation of Babcock Hall will expand the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, and the new $42 million Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory will provide modern facilities to train the next generation of meat industry leaders, support research and provide ongoing outreach education, according to officials.

The dairy and meat industries are raising private money to cover about half the cost of each project.

Delays were a possibility when the Legislature's budget-writing Joint Finance Committee earlier this year directed the state Building Commission to cut state-funded building project allocations by $250 million.

"Our dairy and meat science industries will be able to remain on the cutting edge of research with these new buildings," Governor Walker told the newspaper last week, putting those fears to rest. "The current buildings are not able to meet the research needs and accommodate the number of students interested in these fields."

The Center for Dairy Research is the largest dairy research centre in the United States, providing research, technical support and outreach for dairies, suppliers, regulatory agencies, and national and international dairy organisations. The renovation will expand the 60-year-old Babcock Hall to add research space, environmentally controlled rooms for making different varieties of cheese and modern air handling equipment.

Babcock Hall, which was originally built in 1948, is best known for the gourmet ice cream it produces.

The Journal-Sentinel report adds that Wisconsin's dairy industry produced four per cent more milk in 2012 than in 2011 - 2.3 billion pounds of milk each month. Cheese production also grew 5.5 per cent between 2011 and 2012. The meat industry provides 88,000 rural and urban jobs and contributes $12 billion to the state's economy, according to the governor.

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